Last Friday, I met my friend Miya and her adorable daughter Emi down in Chinatown. Our goal: enjoy some tasty, nourishing pho. Miya's a vegetarian, and my friend Rich (who has excellent taste) had recommended the veggie pho at Nam Son, so that's where we went. And boy, was he right.
I ordered the pho with top round, brisket and tendon, while Miya went for veggie with veggie broth. Both were about six bucks, making them the most ridiculous bargains available. Seriously, these were huge bowls of soup. And they were oh-so-tasty.
My beef pho had a traditional, spice-scented broth. The clove and anise came through loud and clear, emphasized by the rich beefiness of the soup. One of the things I love about broth is the way it can be so rich and yet almost completely devoid of fat. It sucks all the flavor out of the bones and becomes something entirely new. It's almost alchemy.
When it came to the meat, I was particularly fond of the tender brisket. It practially melted in my mouth, and was full to bursting with beef flavor. The tendon wasn't bad, but there was a bit much of it for my taste. I'd much rather have had double the brisket and half the tendon. One only needs so much chewiness. And the noodles were pretty good, too - firm enough to stand up to the hot soup, but still tender.
Miya's veggie version was no slouch, either. Absolutely chock full of veggies and tofu, it was quite a sight to see. We got to work doctoring our bowls with hoisin sauce, Sriracha (for me; none for Miya, since Emi was sharing her noodles), bean sprouts and Thai basil. The doctoring might be the best part, actually - working for your supper, as it were.
245 Grand Street (Between Chrystie and Bowery)